Saturday, 20 June 2015

What's your timescale?

There are often 'quick fixes' we can apply to problems. There are also often improvements we can make to get yield up or improve throughput.  The problem is that some of these can have negative impact over the longer-term.

Global agriculture seems to be caught in this trap.  Yields per hectare are rising.  Good!  With a growing global population, this is not only desirable - but essential.

However, there is increasing evidence that underlying soil performance is falling.  This means we need more and more 'treatments' to maintain yields (putting costs up) - but it also means that there might come a time when the soil refuses to support effective growth.

So, though we might want to improve agricultural productivity, we need to be wary of the timescale over which we expect improvement to occur - and be sustained. Traditional agricultural practices managed to maintain soil quantity and slowly improving yields over centuries; our need for growth has resulted in massively increased yields - but for how long?

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